African Platter Map : Matoke, Uganda On A Plate

On today’s episode of Bellafricana’s African Platter map, I am bringing you a recipe to one of Uganda’s most popular delicacies called, Matoke. Be sure to let me know if you try it and how it turns out. 

Matoke is a banana variety that is indigenous to Uganda. They are shorter than regular bananas and are somewhat thicker at the mid section as a result. Due to the high starch content, the flesh of unripe matoke bananas is especially hard, so they need to be boiled, steamed, or roasted before consumption.

If the bananas are fully ripe, they can be consumed as normal fruit, but it is considered a waste since matoke is known as a green cooking banana. These bananas are typically mashed and paired with vegetable sauces, ground peanuts, or meat such as beef and goat, and the full dish is then also called matoke or matooke.

Matoke cannot be peeled in the same way as ordinary bananas when they are unripe. In fact, matoke are sometimes referred to as plantains because they are cooking bananas. Plantains are relatively easy to peel. They need to be cut at each end and slit along the length of the skin before peeling back. Matoke are a little more complicated.

To peel them, cut off the tips at each end of the banana. The banana, including the skin, is very hard such that it is not easy to penetrate with the tip of a knife. Therefore, it is necessary to peel the skin off by placing the knife at one end of the cut off tips, ensuring it is just under the peel, and pulling back towards your body. This would be similar to peeling a potato with a knife. Extra care needs to be taken to do this in order to avoid any accidental cuts.

Once the green peel is off, this will reveal the white flesh of the matoke. When the flesh is exposed to air, it will quickly begin to discolor. In order to prevent this, immediately place the peeled bananas into a bowl of salted water. Completely submerge them to ensure the air is kept away until you have peeled the entire batch of matoke. They are now ready to cook.

The simplest way to do this is to boil them for up to 30 minutes. Check that it has been cooked in 2 ways. First, check that the color has changed to yellow. To ensure it has been cooked well, pass a fork or knife through a piece. If it goes through without much resistance, then you know they are ready to eat.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Kg Banana’s
  • 1/2 Kg Potatoes
  • 3 Large tomatoes
  • 1 Large onion
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • 4 Tbsp Sunflower oil
  • 2 Knorr beef stock cubes
  • 1 Tbsp Spanish paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Curry powder
  • 2 tsp Chilli powder
  • 1 Tbsp crushed ginger
  • 5 cloves of garlic

Procedure

Peel and chop the banana’s and potatoes into similar sized pieces.

Peel and dice the onions.

Peel the garlic and ginger and crush

Heat up the oil in a non-stick pan and  and sautée the onions for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for about a minute, just until the garlic aroma starts to waft in the air. Add in all your dry spices and stir for about half a minute add diced tomatoes and cook till they soften. The potatoes go in next, stir   then add the stock cubes and half a cup of water and let the potatoes cook, once your fork meets a little resistance when you jab…or gently poke the potatoes, add the banana’s and the tomato paste, stir, add in a little water if necessary, cover the pot and let the contents simmer. Again, jab…or gently poke the banana’s if a there’s little resistance then you are all set…

Bon Apetit!